Hometown artist makes hometown return for ArtScene

Nathan Jalani Taylor will be painting live at Octane this weekend. His work will also be part of the Margaret Hynes-curated C.A.P.A. Alumni Series at Studio 451 (North Main Studios). Photo provided

By Jim Hagerty
Staff Writer

Among the thousands of pieces on display this weekend for Spring ArtScene, several will be from an artist making his Rockford return for his first debut show.

Auburn High School graduate Nathan Jalani Taylor will be showing spiritual-themed paintings, including live work, titled “Native Son” at Octane InterLounge Friday, April 16, and Saturday, April 17.

Now based in New York, Taylor performs live paintings alongside prominent musicians and spoken-word artists such as Autumn Rowe, Janelle Monae, Jon B., Messiah, Glenn Lewis and Grammy-nominated R&B/Gospel artist Kelly Price. His freestyling live art at concerts, open mic events and parties are highly charged and popular throughout the country. His art graces the cover of Play with the Changes, the latest album by U.K. super-group 4hero, and is featured on the cover of Dr. Richard Iton’s book In Search of the Black Fantastic (Oxford University Press).

Taylor will be painting live at Octane this weekend. His work will also be part of the Margaret Hynes-curated C.A.P.A. Alumni Series at Studio 451 (North Main Studios). Taylor’s work will be among pieces from seven other C.A.P.A. graduates showing Friday and Saturday.

“This is great for Rockford,” Dan Minick of Octane said, “when an artist moves away and wants to come back and do a show. So often people leave here, and they don’t ever come back.”

Choosing Taylor for ArtScene, Minick said, was an easy decision.

“Nathan’s persistent in wanting to do a show at Octane,” Minick added. “When we finally connected, and I saw his work and talked to him and his wife, I knew he was the artist I wanted here.”

Nathan Jalani Taylor is showing work in Chicago’s DuSable Musuem of African-American History.

As a nod to the strong spiritual themes that often dominate his work, Taylor illustrated Iyanla Vanzant’s Inspirational Card Series, Hay House, and was one of 11 artists featured in the Verizon Wireless “How Sweet The Sound” Gospel/Art Concert Series.

Taylor was invited to show in Seed Gallery’s Inaugural Group Art Exhibition (Newark, N.J., winter 2007), Gallery Guichard’s “Common Grounds” (DuSable Museum,Chicago, winter 2010), and recently donated the painting “Healing Spirit” to the Susan G. Komen For The Cure Foundation.

He has produced several solo exhibitions: “To Find Your Truth” (C.O.I. Studios, Brooklyn, spring 2002), “Free Mind Soul Power” (Greeley Gallery, NYC, spring 2003), “ReBirth” (The Cranberry Storefront, Brooklyn Heights, summer 2006), “World of The Unknown” (Creative Pier, NYC, spring 2009), “Spiritual Journey” (Creative Pier, NYC, summer 2009), and “Re:Born” (Avram Eisen, Chicago, winter 2010).

In addition to painting, Taylor designs T-shirts for the Madison Parker Clothing Co., and co-founded InterActive Publications, which teaches design with schools and students in Brooklyn, N.Y. He has worked as a designer and art director for Essence, Elle, ElleGirl, Elle.com, NBA, Time Inc., Stuff, Vibe, Industry and Vibe Vixen, among others.

Spring ArtScene runs from 5 to 9 p.m., Friday, April 16, and 3 to 9 p.m., Saturday, April 17. Octane InterLounge is at 124 N. Main St., downtown. Studio 451 (North Main Studios) is at 2500 N. Main St.

More information about Nathan Jalani Taylor is at nathanjalanitaylor.com. A complete list of Spring ArtScene artists and exhibits is included in this issue and available online at springartscence.com.

From the April 14-20, 2010 issue

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